Saint Seiya Omega anime review

As usual, this anime series has gotten mixed reviews ever since the day it was announced. This is in part because fans feel that there hasn't been a proper conclusion to the classic manga with the Tenkai-hen movie that takes place after the Hades saga.

The Saint Seiya: Tenkai Hen Overture movie was supposed to be the start of the Heaven saga in which the Saints would stand up and fight against the Gods of Olympus. There's still no news whether this will be concluded or not, despite the announcement that a CG Saint Seiya is in the works with no further details.

Meanwhile, sagas such as The Lost Canvas, by Shiori Teshirogi and Next Dimension by the author himself, Masami Kurumada, have filled the void for fans with prequels and alternate stories.

This new 'Omega' series is meant to be a proposal for the new generations, and I think it has fulfilled its role well after 26 episodes.

Although it hasn't been officially recognized as such, Shingo Araki did participate in this project before his passing away on December 2011, with initial sketches of character designs, later supported by Yoshihiko Umakoshi and Kunio Tsujita, who was also part of the classic Saint Seiya production staff back in the late eighties.

The series begins with Kouga, a 13 year old kid raised by Saori in a remote house in front of the beach.  Kouga has been training to be a Saint but he doesn't see the purpose of it. He doesn't find out Saori is Athena until Mars attacks and kidnaps her to make her cosmo the source of a new world of darkness.

In this stage of the story, the Saints have evolutioned into the Era of Elements. Each vital element is associated with a warrior's cosmo. Thus we have Wind, Water, Earth, Fire, Thunder, Light and Darkness, the 7 basic elements. Also there is a significant change in the aspect of the armors. The armors are no longer carried in a Pandora's box, but rather in a crystal.

This has been criticized by traditionalist fans, arguing that this has softened and changed the entire concept of the series, turning it almost into a moe series, and I wouldn't agree. The elements concept is a modern take on the plot, inspired on recent shonen mangas like Naruto and Bleach.

Allright, the crystal concept can be alleged as a shoujo thing, but hey, the series has to appeal to everyone. Anime audiences have changed a lot since the 80's and genre barriers have blurred.

The five bronze saints are reintroduced as Kouga of Pegasus, Ryuho of the Dragon, who is Shiryu and Shunrei's son, Yuna of the Aquila (Eagle), Souma of the Minor Lion, Haruto of the Wolf, and then Eden of Orion. They retain personality traits of the original Bronze saints that we love but with new twists.

The main villain is of course, Mars, the God of War and Violence. This version is based on creator Kurumada's explanation that he was the 13th God of Olympus, but banished because of his actions. He had an army of Berserkers that were defeated in the Mythic era, and that was the cause of the first Saint War against Hades.

The original saints do appear in the series as the plot developes, but they have been cursed by Mars and that inhibits them from using their powers at its fullest. Saori was the first revealed with the curse too. The curse dematerializes their bodies with time and use of cosmo.

So far, the animation quality has been great, with some weak moments, but definitely striking for a classic old school look with a modern take.

I look forward to more episodes, a total of 52 are scheduled and there can be more if all goes well.



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